"Consumer choice, willingly made"

Elizabeth Warren made headlines last week by outlining several proposals to break up Big Tech, including tighter regulation of acquisitions and mergers, and prohibiting companies from offering a marketplace for commerce and competing in that marketplace—or often choking off competition. (Watch Hasan Minhaj’s excellent outline of how Amazon does this, if you haven’t already.)

The policy proposals seems to have been met with excitement by consumers (including me) who think Big Tech is getting too powerful, and hasn’t done enough to self-regulate. But some of the specifics have been met with criticism.

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Can a corporation be good?

Last week I attended a one-day conference called “Leading For Good” at Loyola’s Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility, aimed at bringing together social and civic minded corporate executives from around the Chicago area. The connections and conversations were good, but in all honesty, I left frustrated that the conversation still mostly centered around whether or not a business should be doing good, rather than how it should go about doing it.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. We have no common definition of business “purpose”, and no shared ethical framework for how to evaluate whether or not the decisions made by a business can be considered “good.”

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Meaning junkies

If you haven’t yet read Derek Thompson’s excellent essay in The Atlantic about “The Religion of Workism,” I highly recommend it. Thompson’s thesis—that in American society we’ve replaced religion with “workism” as a way to find meaning—strikes at the very heart of many occupational ambitions. (Including, if I’m honest, my own.)

“For today’s workists,” Thompson says, “anything short of finding one’s vocational soul mate means a wasted life.”

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